...because we all have our motley moments!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Girl at War

My sister-in-law Kyann is the bravest girl I know. In March of 2003, Kyann lived alone in Savannah, Georgia. Each day while she was working, her husband Earl was sleeping. For more than six months, she did all of the cleaning, all of the shopping, paid all of the bills, and took care of all of their dogs - all alone. They had only lived in Savannah for two months when Earl left, and Kyann was almost a thousand miles away from her friends and family.

Each night, when she went to bed alone, Earl would get up and set off again to drive endlessly across the open dessert. Earl's Cavalry Regiment was attached to the Army's 3rd ID (Infantry Division). The 3rd ID was the Army's first conventional U.S. unit to enter Baghdad during the 2003 invasion in our war with Iraq. Earl's Unit had an embedded report, so each night Kyann could watch the Bradleys (tank-like vehicles) trek across Iraq towards Baghdad.

Being the first land unit in Iraq brought many challenges. If the unthinkable happened, we would watch it on the news before my sister-in-law would be notified. We would know that something terrible happened before we knew for sure Earl was safe. Camps weren't set up. There were no places to shower, eat or even sleep, not to mention the obvious dangers Earl faced in combat.

Through all of this, Kyann was brave and independent. She wasn't negative and did not complain. I think I cried about her being alone and Earl being in danger more than she did.

Now six years later, Earl is home safe, but Kyann is fighting her own war. In late April, my dear sister-in-law was diagnosed with Stage III Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Just this week, we found out that the cancer is now Stage IV. Inflammatory Breast Cancer is very aggressive, and she is facing an uphill battle, yet true to her nature, Kyann is calm and positive. She never complains. She has not changed any of her daily routine or dished off any wifely or motherly duties. She rarely cries and keeps looking for ways to help others.

I talked to her on Thursday to get the details from her doctor's appointment. In the very same conversation, her good news was that she had decided to put together a team for Louisville's Susan G. Koman Walk for Life. Her example of strength and grace makes me think that God didn't allow this to happen to me largely because he wouldn't have wanted to hear me whine. So, in the spirit of Kyann, I will share with you some quotes I found to help encourage her and maybe me too.

"Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are but small matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. " ~ Psalm 34:18

"If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell." ~ Lance Armstrong

"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass." ~ Maya Angelou

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

"Therefore we do not loose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16

Kyann reminds me of 1 Corinthians chapter 13. She is kind and does not envy. She is not proud and doesn't boast. She always protects, always trusts and always perseveres. She will probably be very embarrassed when I tell her I blogged about her. Kyann doesn't want anyone to fuss over her or worry about her, but she is a hero who needs our support. (BTW - The adorable little girl in the photo is her daughter, my one-year-old niece Bella. She looks like me, right?) Will you please pray for Kyann and her family? Please pray for God to guide her to the right treatment at the right time to beat this disease. Also, be advised that in the near future, I will be asking you all to sponsor me as I walk with her in October.


fawnda said...

What a testimony your sister has! Very inspiring! Kyann-you Go girl!
Yes, Pam, your niece looks just like you! Cute as a button!

I will say a prayer for Kyann right now! Thanks for sharing her story!

Liz said...

Pam, this is all so very heartbreaking. I will pray for Kyann and her family, which of course includes you. And I will be happy to sponsor you in October. :)

Kyann said...

What Pam fails to mention is how wonderful she has been not only now but when Earl was in Iraq. When Earl was in Iraq, I also got care packages. On our anniversary, Pam made sure I got flowers at work. Once again, she is there for me. I got a package in the mail today, and it is not the first.

I am very lucky in all the support I have received from both family and friends. I have been blessed with a wonderful family. I have a lot to live for including a beautiful baby and a husband who would rather fight a thousand wars then to see me fight just one. Love you Pam.

Lori Davis said...

Pam, This was probably the hardest story to write. It makes me sad just to think about it. I will try to pray even harder for Kyann and Earl and Little Bella. I will also help sponser you. You are a kind caring person and I know how much all this hurts you as well.Love Mom